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FAQ's
What methods will be used to treat each insect?
The specific treatment depends on the type of insect, stage of its development and location of the nest. In most cases some insecticide application will be required and the entire nest will be removed in order to prevent secondary problems such as odor or attraction of other pests. If the nest cannot be located, we will not spray. For more details visit the Services page and read the Treatments section.

If wasps or bees are entering the house, what should be done?
Call us immediately. Explain that the insects are coming inside, so we can schedule the visit promptly. Emergency service is available. In the meantime, close off the room and place a towel under the door to prevent them from spreading throughout your living area. DO NOT TRY TO SEAL THE POINT OF OUTSIDE ENTRY. This will only serve to trap the insects indoors. DO NOT SPRAY. This will probably aggravate the insects and your situation. Disturbing access to the outside will only force the insects inside.

I think there may be bees or wasps in the walls of the house. How can I tell?
It is far better to be safe than sorry in this situation. If you notice a yellowish stain on your wall, this is a good indicator that you have a nest of stinging insects and they may be close to chewing through the wall. Call us immediately for emergency service.

If you don't have visual evidence, stand close to the wall and listen. You will probably be able to hear a low buzzing noise, and possibly chewing, if there is a nest behind the wall. You might also look for an outside entry point if it's a sunny afternoon, but please be careful! Make a wide circle around the section of the house you believe to be inhabited. Binoculars may be helpful.

Why should we call for service rather than try to handle the problem ouselves?
To truly alleviate a stinging insect problem, one must go to the source - the nest. Dispatching one or a few stinging insects is not the same as facing a nest of defensive, stinger-wielding wasps, hornets or bees. Many species are extremely aggressive in defense of their nest and may specifically attack an intruders face. Bald-faced hornets, for instance, may target the eyes with a spray of venom that can cause discomfort. A sting directly in the eye will cause permanent blindness.

Spraying large quantities of insecticides is not the anwser. Not only is this likely to leave a lot of individuals unaffected by the poison but aggravated by the attack (colonies can have hundreds to thousands of workers), the propane propellant in these sprays is flammable. It is not intended for such a large application nor for indoor use, and insurance companies are unlikely to compensate you for fire damage under such circumstances. Also consider that you, your family and pets will not benefit from breathing poisonous chemicals. Today's homes are very well insulated, which compounds these potentially damaging effects.

"Eradicating nuisance nests outdoors, or nests within walls, can be tricky and is best left to a pro." - Consumer Reports, 6/97

Will the insecticides used be harmful to my family or pets or to the environment?
Every precaution is taken to ensure the safety of you and your entire family. Insecticide applications are limited to a fairly localized area and we use the minimum quantity possible that will still provide effective treatment. Pyrethroids are most often used. This type of insecticide is considered to be one of the safest for the environment and is widely recommended for extermination and agricultural insect control.

How can future problems be prevented?
Not all insects look for the same conditions when locating their nests. A "problem" with stinging insects usually results from a nest located in or near your home.

  • Look for the chinks in the armor of your house - gaps or cracks around windows, under eaves, in the foundation or openings under your porch are inviting entry points. Usually, a good job of caulking your home will prevent wasps, bees and hornets from building a nest too close for comfort. Outbuildings are another common location for nests. They are more likely to offer easy access and are probably subject to less activity. The same precautions apply.

  • Rarely used machinery and automobiles should be started regularly or sprayed with a hose as thoroughly as possible. Be cautious, however, in case a wasp nest has already been started.

  • Vespas (wasps) in particular are attracted to food. Keep garbage in sealed containers, wipe off outdoor eating areas and pick up fallen fruits from under trees.

  • To discourage carpenter bees, paint raw wood and be sure to plug former nest holes. This will not prevent carpenter bees from boring into wood, but it helps to discourage them.

  • If you have experienced difficulty with ground nesters, such as cicada killers or mining bees, seed your lawn and try to maintain a dense growth of grass. Again, this is not guaranteed prevention, but should discourage your unwanted visitors.

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ID Guide

Bald-Faced Hornet
European Hornet
Yellow Jacket
Paper Wasp
Mud Dauber
Cicada Killer
Honey Bee
Bumble Bee
Carpenter Bee
Mining Bee
Bald-Faced Hornet
(Dolichovespula spp.)
Service Request

Temperment: Aggressive
Habit: Social
Nest Location: Above-ground
Food: Insects, rotting fruit, sweet liquids

Description: Hornets are large, black insects with white or yellow marks. A hornet's nest resembles a big gray, rough papery egg with the larger end at the top and a single dark entrance hole near the bottom. Nests are usually built under eaves or hidden in shrubbery or trees. They are started in the spring by a hornet queen who has survived the winter in a pile of leaves or a rotting log. The nest inside consists of several layers of cells enclosed by the paper envelope and not visible from the outside. The queen lays all of the eggs that produce the worker hornets. Colonies of over 300 workers are common.

Bald-faced hornets, paper wasps and yellow jackets are the common, troublesome wasps. They capture insects to feed their young throughout the summer. In the late fall, they stop rearing their young and concentrate on feeding on flower nectar and other sweet liquids. This is when they become serious nuisances around back yards, picnic areas, soda machines and other places where beverages or foods containing sugar are found. In addition to the change in their food habits, colonies have reached their peak sizes and encounters with people become more frequent.

Special Notes: These insects are very sensitive to disturbance and will defend their nest fiercely. When hornets are particularly agitated, they tend to attack an intruder's face. A sting in the eye may cause permanent blindness.

European Hornet
(Vespa crabro germana)
Service Request

Temperment: Moderately aggressive
Habit: Social
Nest Location: Above-ground
Food: Insects, nectar

Description: Also known as giant hornets, these brown and yellow insects resemble an oversized yellow jacket. European hornets have been introduced in the United States and are the only true hornet in this country. They are social insects that build their nests in tree voids, houses or inside of a structure that affords protection from the elements. A mature nest may contain an average of 600 workers that are predators of other large insects. Due to the size of their prey, hornet nests differ from other stinging insects by the fowl odor of rotting insect parts and fecal deposits.

Paper wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are the common, troublesome wasps. They capture insects to feed their young throughout the summer. In the late fall, they stop rearing their young and concentrate on feeding on flower nectar and other sweet liquids. This is when they become serious nuisances around back yards, picnic areas, soda machines and other places where beverages or foods containing sugar are found. In addition to the change in their food habits, the insects' coloniess have reached their largest size and encounters with people become more frequent.

Special Notes: The workers will fly at night and can be a nuisance around porch lights. European hornets are also known for girdling the soft outer layer of new growth on trees to feed on the soft tissue inside. Severe girdling can kill the tree.
Yellow Jacket
(Vespula spp.)
Service Request

Temperment: Very aggressive
Habit: Social
Nest Location: Underground, within walls, above-ground
Food: Insects, fruit, sweet liquids, carcasses, garbage, beer

Description: Yellow jackets are smaller than hornets, and they nest in the ground as well as in bushes or under eaves. They are black with yellow stripes. A single queen starts a nest and her offspring build the cells in layers, one below the other. Yellow jacket colonies have up to 5,000 workers, and they remain active into the late fall. If the yellow jacket nest is disturbed these wasps angrily swarm out and sting repeatedly.

Paper wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are the common, troublesome wasps. They capture insects to feed their young throughout the summer. In the fall, they stop rearing their young and concentrate on feeding on flower nectar and other sweet liquids. This is when they become serious nuisances around back yards, picnic areas, soda machines and other places where beverages or foods containing sugar are found. In addition to the change in their food habits, the colonies have reached peak numbers and encounters with people become more frequent. Due to their foraging behavior and the potential for their venom to cause severe allergic reaction in some people, yellow jackets are considered by many experts to be the greatest threat of all stinging insects in the U.S.

Special Notes: Yellow jackets tend to chew wallboard and, if left unchecked, may chew through walls of houses. A brownish stain will appear just before they break through the wall.
Paper Wasp
(Polistes spp.)
Service Request

Temperment: Aggressive
Habit: Social
Nest Location: Above-ground
Food: Insects, rotting fruit, sweet liquids

Description: YellowPaper wasps are very common. They are reddish-brown to dark brown with a slender build and have long, thin legs. Paper wasps build the common single-tiered circle of gray, papery nest cells, which resemble a honey comb when viewed from below. These nests are small, seldom reaching four inches in diameter, and are attached by a short, narrow stalk in the center of the nest. They are usually found in shaded areas, such as under eaves or overhanging window sashes, but sometimes will be located in hedges and frequently inside unused equipment, sheds or barns. The nests are begun in the spring by single queen who rears the workers. The workers in turn take over the responsibility for enlarging the nest.

Paper wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are the common, troublesome wasps. They capture insects to feed their young throughout the summer. In the late fall, they stop rearing their young and concentrate on feeding on flower nectar and other sweet liquids. This is when they become serious nuisances around back yards, picnic areas, soda machines and other places where beverages or foods containing sugar are found. In addition to the change in their food habits, colonies have reached peak numbers and encounters with people become more frequent.

Paper wasps are not as quickly angered as yellow jackets, but they do not hesitate to sting if their nest is molested.

Special Notes: Single individuals frequently wander inside houses through chimneys, espcially in the early spring or late fall.
Mud Dauber
(Sceliphron sp.)
Service Request

Temperment: Non-aggressive
Habit: Solitary
Nest Location: Above-ground
Food: Spiders

Description: Mud daubers are dark, often black or blue wasps with long, thin waists. They are not aggressive and are much less likely to sting than yellow jackets, hornets or paper wasps. Mud daubers are most often encountered either at puddles where they are collecting mud for their nests or at the nest site. Nests are formed from a series of elongated mud cells and commonly stuck to the walls of sheds or the sides of equipment. They may also be plastered inside electric motor housings when the machinery is not in use. The nests are then stocked with spiders, paralyzed by a sting, for young wasps to eat.
Cicada Killer
(Sphecius speciosus)
Service Request

Temperment: Non-aggressive; intimidation by males
Habit: Solitary
Nest Location: Underground
Food: Cicadas, other insects, nectar

Description: These insects are often mistaken for hornets. They are similarly colored with a black body and striking yellow markings and are nearly 2 inches long. Named after its food source, this solitary wasp attacks Cicadas, paralyzes them with it's stinger and deposits it's eggs on the host after dragging it into it's burrow. Only the female Cicada killers (like other stinging insects) have a stinger. The male of this species, however, will try to intimidate people while patrolling it's territory, but cannot sting.

Special Notes: The main problem associated with this wasp is the amount of damage it can do the the landscape. After treatment for control lawn surfaces should be reseeded to discourage future infestations.
Honey Bee
(Apis mellifera)
Service Request

Temperment: Non-aggressive
Habit: Social
Nest Location: Within walls, tree hollows
Food: Flower nectar & pollen

Description: Honey bees are relatively small, very hairy and they are yellowish-brown. Honey bees are not prone to sting unless thay are stepped on or thier nest is disurbed. Normally honey bees will nest in between the walls of a house or building or in a tree hollow. Removal of honey bee infestations is complicated and should be left to an apiculturalist. The procedure involves removing the bees, then the comb, honey, larvae and propolis.

Special Notes: It is not advisable to kill the colony without removing the nest because of the potential damage from remaining honey and larvae. If left in the wall, decaying larvae can cause an odor problem, and the honey may attract a number of other pests.
Bumble Bee
(Bombus spp.)
Service Request

Temperment: Non-aggressive; agressive defense
Habit: Social
Nest Location: Underground
Food: Nectar, pollen

Description: Bumble bees vary in size depending on the species and sex of the individual, but are generally round-bodied, quite hairy, and usually black and yellow (some species also have areas of orange or white hairs). Bumble bees do not sting unless their nest is disturbed. They usually make small nests in the ground, often in an abandoned mouse hole. Other nesting sites include mulch, old carpeting, garage walls, etc. The nest is seldom seen, and the bees are not aggressive as they go about collecting nectar and pollen. If the nest is disturbed however, they will fiercely defend it.
Carpenter Bee
(Xylocopa spp.)
Service Request

Temperment: Not prone to sting; attempt to intimidate
Habit: Solitary
Nest Location: In wood
Food: Pollen, nectar

Description: These big yellow and black bees look a lot like bumble bees. They can be distinguished by the lack of hair on the upper rear segment of the body and by their behavior. Carpenter bees bore holes in boards as well as in treated lumber, where they put their eggs and pollen. Their primary method of deterrence is intimidation, but the females can sting.

Special Notes: The main problem with these insects is the severity of the structural damage they can cause if left unchecked. Untreated infestations as well as sealing holes without proper treatment causes additional boring by newly hatched bees and can attract woodpeckers, thus leading to more severe damage.
Mining Bee
Service Request

Temperment: Moderately aggressive
Habit: Solitary, communal
Nest Location: Underground

Description: Also known commonly as solitary ground bees, each female has her own burrow. However, these insects are communal in that they will share a common nesting area. Mining bees like to nest in loose, sandy loam soils with poor grass cover. They fly fiercely about ten feet above the surface as they attempt to protect their territory. The sting from this insect is very mild and may go unnoticed until several minutes later.

The best time to control infestation is during the mating period when males can be observed making a frenzied "ball" around a female. At this time the insects are above ground which makes chemical control very effective.

Special Notes: Like cicada killers, mining bees will destroy the landscape if untreated.